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Emergent won't get anthrax vaccine contract


Jeremy W. Steele
Lansing State Journal

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. will not get a Department of Defense contract this year for more doses of its Lansing-made anthrax vaccine, officials said today.

The Rockville, Md.-based company said the Defense Department has canceled a request for proposals for more of the vaccine.

Instead, the department will develop a partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services - the other major buyer of the vaccine - to use its stockpile before it expires, company officials said.

Emergent officials previously said they expected the Defense Department to buy 1 million to 3.6 million doses over the next year.

Combined with a recently announced a $448 million deal to supply 18.75 million doses to the Department of Health and Human Services through 2010, that would have brought vaccine production at the former BioPort Corp. facility in north Lansing to near capacity. Emergent has about 325 employes in Lansing.

HHS is stockpiling the vaccine so it could be tapped in the event of a widespread outbreak.

A recent Government Accountability Office report recommended the two departments integrate their vaccine operations to prevent waste.

"We understand the reasons for DoD and HHS to collaborate on an integrated stockpile management program," Fuad El-Hibri, Emergent chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We also understand that DoD is continuing its active immunization program and thus believe DoD will have future requirements for vaccine supply. We intend to work with both DoD and HHS to better understand how DoD's requirements will be satisfied and the role we will play to address those needs."